Custom Electronics? Floor Coverings? Common Problems, Common Solutions
From time to time, I find information from other big-ticket consumer products industries that I think holds equally true in the custom electronics business. The customer, essentially, is the same, so we can learn a great deal from what others have found.
The World Floor Covering Association (WFCA), for example, recently conducted a study to explore attitudes and perceptions of shoppers. One of the study’s goals was to compare and contrast the shopping experiences of recent floor covering buyers at big-box stores and specialty dealers. The results aren’t too surprising, but it’s instructive to see the differences in shopping experiences codified.
The study found that prospects buying flooring visited as many as five stores, including multiple trips to both specialty and big-box stores, before making their purchases. About half of the shoppers used the internet to get information before making their final selections.
Sales associates in both venues asked some kinds of lifestyle questions to determine the prospects’ needs. However, the study found, only those in the locally-owned stores described how the floor covering would perform over time.
Big-box shoppers complained it was difficult to get any kind of sales assistance and, when they did, the associates weren’t knowledgeable. Specialty shoppers lauded good service from knowledgeable sales people, but occasionally complained about pushy associates, overly eager to capture the sale.
In summary, the study showed that big-box customers bought there for better pricing, financing, less sales pressure, product availability, convenient locations and one-stop shopping.
Customers chose specialty stores for better service, better workmanship in installation, more specialist knowledge, higher-quality materials, more extensive selection, demo installations, on-site consultation and a more “local” feel.
Those who eventually purchased from specialists expected more than they did from the big-boxes—and they got it. A small number who’d bought from specialists were called about their purchases following installation. None of the superstore purchasers received follow-up calls.